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Pay now or pay more later? The importance of timely maintenance

In a world where energy bills seem to be going ever up and staff shortages can make recruitment a costly headache, there is a temptation to set aside essential equipment maintenance for another day. However, such a decision risks not only unplanned downtime, but can also lead to expensive and lengthy repairs when breakdowns occur.

JBT is committed to supporting customers by providing timely, factual inspections that follow a protocol designed to track the wear on the drive system, belt and check the condition of the enclosure and electrical systems. This allows the team to advise customers on planning their maintenance spend by discussing the inspection report findings and agreeing on what is needed and assisting by advising on what repairs are required immediately.

The inspection protocol and the report that accompanies it is designed to allow the planning of capex level repairs and allows sites to also track the wear rates of the consumable items. At the same time, maintenance projects are combined wherever possible to help customers better manage the cost, writes Noel Carrick, JBT Service Manager for the UK and Ireland.

At JBT UK and Ireland, we are on track to meet or exceed the number of inspections carried out in 2021 and – at the same time – there has been a sharp increase in the cost of quotations between 2021 and 2022 due to inflation and increased material costs. But while this may seem encouraging from a healthy maintenance point of view, there is a concerning trend that points in the opposite direction.

Over the past 12 months, we have seen a growing trend of customers reacting to the costs of energy and staffing going through the roof by putting off essential repairs. 

The potential consequences of such a decision can be very costly. If customers are lucky, they might only suffer a day or a day-and-a-half of unplanned downtime. If not and they suffer a De-Stack of their spiral freezer, they are likely to be looking at four days, plus the cost of replacement belt sections, which can run into tens of thousands of pounds or dollars.

Most JBT freezers are built around a self-supporting stack where the belt comes in and stacks in an “endless loop”. As JBT engineers, we build a stack from the bottom up, then take it around and feed it in again. If you have an issue with the drive system that causes either the inner or outer drive to stop, the belt will fall off one of the drive chains and de-stack.

If the problem isn’t serious, the freezer can be re-stacked slowly over the course of a day. In a worst case scenario, the belt has to be cut into small pieces and removed through one of the doors: that can take six people a day to do, followed by a day to investigate why the problem happened, and another two days to carry out repairs and install a new belt.

And bear in mind that one hour’s lost production can total thousands of pounds in itself.

But what can cause a de-stack? 

There are many potential causes for a de-stack, one of them is delayed maintenance spend.

Most JBT freezer self-stacking systems are run on a ball drive that uses plastic balls. These typically last a year-and-a-half to two years, but if too much wearing takes place, the size of the balls will decrease and there will be more unsupported chain taking the weight of the belt or will allow for the drive chain to lean excessively which could result in a de-stack.

An even more expensive potential problem that worn balls can cause is if an unsupported drive chain leans excessively it can undercut the support rail, which can be extremely expensive to replace, as well as resulting in a minimum four days of no production. 

The advice we give is tempered towards what a customer must do. If there is something else we recommend, it would be because it is economically beneficial to do both jobs at the same time. This is especially the case if two issues are interrelated. 

At JBT, we’ll do our utmost to keep your lines running. And we’ll also make sure you aren’t paying needlessly by providing honest feedback designed to keep your freezers on track.

Minimizing microplastics in the food processing line

This article was originally published on JBT’s Plant-based Protein Blog.

Scientists have recognized plastic pollution as an environmental problem for a long time, but recently it has increased substantially and become more urgent to manage. Besides the visible plastic pollution, like bags and bottles, the focus also has come on the invisible form – the microplastic particles. 

The study of microplastic contamination of food products and its impact on human food safety is an emerging field, but a lot is still unknown. Ingesting microplastics into the human body constitutes a probable hazard. For the food processing industry, the use of plastic parts that will wear down must be avoided in the food zone. 

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic material that vary greatly despite their similarity of being very small in size. The smallest parts are not visible to the naked eye. Their composition can be any kind of plastic material, such as polyethylene (PE), polybutylene succinate (PBS), or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They can also have different shapes, colors, sizes, and densities.

The small pieces of plastic can be grouped into primary and secondary microplastics based on where they come from before they end up in nature. Primary microplastics are already tiny when disposed of, coming from cosmetic products and various industries. Secondary microplastics come from larger pieces of plastic such as bags, bottles, and fishing nets that are disposed of and are subjected to weathering and then fragment into micro and nano plastics. Secondary microplastics account for most of those found in the oceans, ingested by marine animals.

Minimizing plastic usage in freezers: the Frigoscandia GYRoCOMPACT

Chemical contaminants
Microplastics may act as vehicles or carriers for environmental contaminants and other chemicals added during manufacturing. Chemicals such as styrene, toxic metals, phthalates, and bisphenol A, may be absorbed on the surface of microplastics and may act as “substrates.” These pollutants and additives can be transferred from ingested microplastics to animal tissues and cause impairment of crucial body functions.

Food and beverage operators need robust and accurate characterization tools and methodologies to understand the scale of microplastic contamination and reduce consumer exposure. Taking a proactive stance on microplastics is also a positive step from a brand reputation perspective.

Minimizing risk
Microplastics can also originate from pieces in the food processing equipment. Using plastics in moving parts in sections that are in direct contact with the food increases the risk for contamination. As the parts are exposed to wear and tear, it can generate microplastics directly in food zone 1.

Conventional spiral freezers, for example, are based on plastic wear strips to achieve acceptable friction. When the belt moves alongside the drum on plastic-coated guides, the friction wears on the plastic and releases small microscopical parts. These wear strips has a typical acceptable wear of 1-2 mm over 20,000-30,000 hours of operation. A conventional 35 tier 700 mm wide belt spiral freezer has a total length of 1,250 m belt wear strips in tier carriers. The total area with 14 mm wear surface is 18 dm2. That gives a total volume of worn off plastic (1.5 mm wear) equivalent to 27 liters of microplastic, not counting wear strips in center drum.

Besides the apparent hazard, microplastic may also act as a vehicle or carrier for chemicals. That means that the processed ingredients also can get contaminated with oil from the machine and create black spots on the food. With this in mind, JBT designed the Frigoscandia GYRoCOMPACT® self-stacking freezer. Its unique Self-Stacking stainless steel mesh belt has no plastic parts in the food zone that can generate microplastics.

The GYRoCOMPACT has 25 meters of belt wear strips which is only 2% compared to the 1,250 m belt wear strips of the conventional spiral freezer. With the industry’s only self-contained 100% cleanable freezing zone, ease of accessibility throughout the enclosure, and easy evaporator access offering exceptional cleanability, it provides you with the ultimate performance in product hygiene.

At JBT, we know that the design of food processing equipment is essential for food safety. That’s why we always design to minimize all unnecessary surfaces and use as little material as possible to avoid dirt traps. We call it Hygiene by Design, and it is crucial in food zone 1, where the equipment has direct physical contact with the products. We also have specialists just focusing on reducing the use of unwanted materials like plastics.

Labor-saving: why JBT solutions can help Japan’s processors

The problem of labor shortages is one facing many developed countries, but in Japan – where over 65s now account for some 30% of the population – the problem is now particularly acute, with the nation said to be short of more than 600,000 workers. Technology offers one solution, and JBT is highlighting innovative, labor-saving systems at FOOMA 2022, Japan’s international food industry exhibition, which runs until June 10.

Visitors to the JBT booth in the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center will have a chance to see how semi- and fully-automatic machines are helping Japanese protein processors cope with staff shortages, while helping improve both efficiency and hygiene. 

Innovative portioning
One such solution is the DSI Waterjet Portioning System, a precision machine for intense, high-accuracy cuts, which uses a next generation scanner for effortless all-in-one fat trimming, weight-based portioning, and nugget generation. Designed for high volume portioning, the DSI Waterjet Portioning System gives processors the ability to mix and match products and orders on any given day.

Optimizing efficiency
Similarly, the Frigoscandia GYRoCOMPACT 70 Spiral Freezer, the latest in the best-selling range of GYRoCOMPACT freezers, features a 100% cleanable, open-profile self-stacking spiral design, including an improved FRIGoBELT® Nova for optimizing efficiency, capacity and layout flexibility.

The GYRoCOMPACT 70 also features significant environmental improvements, including an increased capacity of up to 20% over a smaller space and a reduction in oil consumption of as much as 75%.

For end-of-the-line packaging, JBT Proseal offers an extensive range of manual, semi-automatic and fully-automatic tray sealing machines with throughputs from 6 to 240 packs per minute. In addition, all tray sealing machines in Proseal’s range are capable of modified atmosphere packaging.

JBT will be exhibiting at FOOMA 2022 in Booth 6C-55, Hall 6 at Tokyo Big Site, Japan until June 10.

Request more information about JBT’s solutions for Asia-based processors

JBT’s GYRoCOMPACT: fresh solutions for Brazil’s bakers

Rising demand for convenience food products, economic growth and shelf-life extension along with other factors are primary factors boosting the global frozen bread market. In fact, the market is experiencing consistently strong growth of around 4.3% every year. JBT’s range of hygenic, efficient spiral freezers are ideally placed to support such growth, particularly in growing markets such as Latin America.

Frozen bakery products are increasingly becoming an integral part of the daily diet around the world. Busy lifestyles have contributed to the growth of the bread manufacturing industry and an increasing emphasis on producing new products that can cater to the rise in demand from consumers. The increase in consumption of frozen bakery products is also being strongly echoed in the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Like many other countries, Brazil is experiencing strong growth in frozen bakery products, whose worth is expected to exceed $26 billion in 2022, according to Caio Guillen, JBT’s Marketing Manager for South America.

JBT will be highlighting its entire portfolio focused on this segment at FIPAN 2022, Latin America’s largest bakery and confectionery trade exhibition, from 19-22 July in São Paulo’s Expo Center Norte. 

Showcasing benefits
Innovation in products and processes has been the main focus of the industry, which has sought even greater and broader professionalization, with investments in larger-scale production lines, with a high degree of automation and technology, guaranteeing products of the highest quality and food safety to the end consumer, says Fabio Viegas, Sales Manager at JBT in Brazil.

FIPAN 2022, an event which brings together some of the largest bakery processors in the country alongside other bakeries and confectioners, will provide JBT with an opportunity to showcase its complete portfolio of solutions dedicated to this segment. These include proofing, chilling, freezing, and baking systems designed to efficiently and reliably produce a variety of safe, attractive bakery and confectionery products.

Unrivalled savings
One of the solutions that will be presented is the GYRoCOMPACT® Spiral Freezer Series, which offers state-of-the-art innovations in continuous freezing. Offered in different models, the GYRoCOMPACT can serve companies from large to small, delivering reliability, consistency, food safety, energy and space savings, quick installation and easy relocation, among other incomparable advantages.

The GYRoCOMPACT 60 delivers amazing energy savings compared with previous versions, including a 65% reduction in drive power usage. This version generally serves lines with a capacity of 2000 to 3000Kg/h.

The recently launched GYRoCOMPACT 70 meanwhile features significant advances in food safety, performance and space optimization, including increased capacity of up to 20% on a smaller space, an enhanced hygienic design and a reduction in oil consumption of up to 75%. Generally offered for lines with a capacity from 3000 to 5000Kg/h.

For smaller bakers, the GYRoCOMPACT 40 – capable of freezing capacities of 1,000 kg per hour – is the most compact spiral freezer ever made, featuring unrivalled energy efficiency savings and an emphasis on hygiene by design.

JBT will be exhibiting at FIPAN 2022 at Expo Center Note, São Paulo, Brazil from July 19-22.

LEARN MORE about the JBT Frigoscandia GYRoCOMPACT range

JBT seafood solutions: netting profits for processors

For fish and seafood processors, in common with customers across protein industries, rapidly rising gas prices have made apparently cheaper freezing options very costly. But how to beat the gas price-crisis while maintaining a product that’s superior in both quality and appearance? 

JBT’s Frigoscandia ADVANTEC™ Impingement Freezer, which will be just one of JBT’s freezer solutions highlighted at Seafood Processing Global 2022 in Barcelona, Spain from April 26-28, brings together the running cost advantages of the best mechanical freezers with significant quality and appearance benefits. 

Long-term gains
Liquid Nitrogen prices in Europe have soared in 2021-22, with the increase putting pressure on companies using cryogenic – or gas-based – freezers.

“Although cryogenic freezers have a lower initial investment cost than mechanical freezers, there’s a high running cost for the gas, and this is especially true at the moment,” explains Martin Andersson, JBT’s Application Manager for Value Stream Spiral Freezers. “With a mechanical system like the ADVANTEC freezer, there is a bigger investment at the start, but companies reach a break-even point within a few years, at which point it becomes considerably cheaper.”

Smoother processing
In the case of fish and other seafood, the freezing process itself is not without its challenges, and this is another area where the ADVANTEC offers a distinct advantage. “If you freeze thinner products like fish, you want them to come out without wrinkles,” says Andersson. “With our knowhow and experience we know how to get you the best product appearance.”

Andersson says the ADVANTEC can also be combined for effective glazing. “Almost all seafood is glazed; you need to put some water on it, so the surface doesn’t dry out,” he explains. Fish can quickly become rancid on just the surface but it spoils the product, so you want to glaze. We can assist the customers to find the right solutions and we can do tests for them in our lab to make sure they get the end results they want.”

Reliable solutions
“At JBT, we have very reliable and hygienic freezing solutions that keep customers’ businesses running as they should,” Andersson adds. “If you choose the wrong freezer or process, you can end up with a poor or dry product quality. Whereas, with the ADVANTEC impingement freezer, you will get a juicier and fresher product.” 

JBT will be exhibiting in Booth 3GG201 at Seafood Processing Global 2022 in Barcelona, Spain from April 26-28, 2022.

LEARN MORE about the JBT Frigoscandia ADVANTEC™ Impingement Freezer

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